Ed Wade Should Be Fired

This was my third speech in the Competent Toastmaster series. It was originally given in May 2002 at a Speech-a-Thon in Philadelphia, PA.

Ed Wade should be fired as the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and honored guests.

It is easy to pick on a struggling baseball team. Here in Philadelphia, we have had a lot of practice. We have had just two winning seasons in the last 20. Yet, beyond the “piling on”, there is good reason for the call for Wade’s head.

Wade has permitted his manager and a high-level advisor to publicly criticize Scott Rolen. That criticism has led the team’s star to state that he will not re-sign with the Phillies under any circumstances. The star has further pointed out that the team has not done enough to become a contender.

It is up to the general manager to put together a team capable of winning.

Let’s check Wade’s record.

Hitting Coaches
Wade has supplied his managers with three different hitting coaches (Hal McRae, Hebner, Gross) in three years. The team’s offense has not been productive during these three years. Is it the coaches or the players? If the players, then the GM has to take the fall.

Lee has regressed as a hitter. Rolen has not improved. Burrell strikes out at an alarming rate. Glanville has become a huge liability.

Ed Wade failed.

Curt Schilling was traded on 26 July 2000 for Vincente Padilla, Travis Lee, Omar Daal, and Nelson Figueroa. Daal was so well thought of, we traded him for two minor league pitchers that were so marginal that Baseball America did not even rate them. They still eat up two spots on the 40-man roster of the Phils though. Nelson Figueroa was waived for nothing in return. Travis Lee has been so horrendous that the team has been working out its left fielder at first. Rumor around the league is that Lee has lost favor with the manager. Padilla may be the only bright spot of this trade. He struggled mightily last year. He has been effective thus far this year, but it may just be the effects of having pitched winter ball. Once he begins the second rotation around the league, hitters very well may catch up to him.

Think of this: had the Phils had Schilling’s 20 wins last season instead of the mediocrity we replaced him with, would we have been two games better? We missed the playoffs by two games.

Ed Wade failed.

The absolute worst centerfielder in the majors, Doug Glanville, was re-upped this year at a cost to the payroll of $4 million. Wade complains about not being able to afford free agents. That $4 million could have gone towards more money to sign Aaron Sele. Instead we signed a man who had a negative impact on his team. His negative VORP (value of replacement player) indicates that a regular non-star replacement would have been an improvement to Glanville in the line-up. Mr. Wade does not understand how to value his players. Kenny Lofton was available and signed for one-fourth what Glanville did.

Ed Wade failed.

Eaton & Loewer
Two seasons ago Wade traded for Andy Ashby — a pitcher who was unsuccessful in his first stint at the Vet. For Ashby, Wade gave up three pitchers, two of them solid prospects (Adam Eaton and Carlton Loewer). Ashby lasted but a few months of walking opponents before Wade shipped him off to Atlanta for a former prospect that the Braves had soured on, Bruce Chen, and Jimmy Osting. Wade let Osting go later without compensation. For Chen, the Phils received two broken-down relievers: Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell.

So, for the two promising pitchers we had just two seasons ago, we now have injured Turk Wendell. That does not improve the team.

Ed Wade failed.

Remember, the homespun talent the Phillies have put on the field (Rolen, Burrell, Rollins, and Anderson) have not been Wade’s work. Lee Thomas and Mike Arbuckle have been responsible for these players.

Ed Wade failed.

New Park
The team seems to be on hold until the new ballpark is opened in 2004. Mr. Wade needs to take note . . . the fans are not attending your ballgames. Season ticket sales have plummeted. This team used to draw 3 million spectators a year. You’ll be lucky to get half that this year. A new park is not a guarantee for revenue—just look at Detroit and Milwaukee. The Phillies radio broadcast is now from a weak signal from Delaware. 1210 no longer wanted them on their station.

Ed Wade failed.

He failed to sign first round pick J.D. Drew who is now leading the Cardinals.

Wade failed when he signed Ricky Jordan to a two-year deal thus looking up a roster spot for a marginal bench player.

The GM failed to keep Reggie Taylor in favor of mediocre middle reliever Hector Mercado.

Ed Wade failed to bring up his prospects when his bullpen needed help. Instead, he relied upon aged pitchers who have never had particular success.

Ed Wade should be fired immediately. The Delaware Valley will be better for it.

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